Michal Kempny Is A Chicago Blackhawks Target
Darren Dreger is reporting that several teams have interest in Kontinental Hockey League defenseman Michal Kempny. Dreger states that he expects Kempny to sign next week with an NHL team. The Chicago Blackhawks are one of the teams listed as interested. With a glaring weakness on defense, it makes sense for the Blackhawks to be interested Kempny.
Kempny is appealing to the Blackhawks because he is a 25-year-old defenseman (soon to be 26). He is listed at 6-foot-0 and 174 lbs. with a left-handed shot. He spent last season in the KHL with Omsk Avangard. He amassed five goals and 16 assists in 59 games. He also appeared in 11 playoff games and had two goals and two assists.
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Before joining the Omsk Avangard in the KHL this season, Kempny spent the rest of his hockey career in the Czech Extraliga. He spent all but one season with Brno Kometa. His best season came in 2014-15, where he had eight goals and 21 assists. Kempny is regarded as a skilled player and was named to the Czech 2016 World Cup of Hockey team.
He and Vladimir Sobotka are the only two players on that squad who are not currently playing in the NHL. Sobotka had previously played for the St. Louis Blues in the NHL. Kempny will man the blue line with Roman Polak, Radko Gudas and Andrej Sustr at the World Cup of Hockey this summer.
Kempny is appealing to the Blackhawks for two reasons.
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The first reason is that he fills a need. The Blackhawks are short on “NHL-ready” defensemen. Despite not playing in the NHL before, Kempny might be “more ready” than some of the Blackhawks’ blue-line prospects. Brian Hedger of NHL.com was on WSCR with Mully and Hanley this week. Hedger stated that Blackhawks fans should not expect Ville Pokka to play with NHL club. The word out of Rockford is that Pokka does not skate well enough for the Blackhawks coaching staff. Pokka is currently the Blackhawks’ top defensive prospect.
The second reason Kempny is appealing to the Blackhawks is because of his contract. Kempny can sign a one-year entry-level contract with a team with high incentives and then become a free agent. With the Blackhawks in another salary-cap crunch, expect General Manager Stan Bowman to try to fill needs cheaply.
Now, while other teams are in the mix, the Blackhawks still present a very promising destination. The team will be one year removed from a Stanley Cup championship with the opportunity and core to win again. Kempny also figures to get a chance to play right away. With how poorly David Rundblad and Erik Gustafsson played during the playoffs, I’m positive the Blackhawks would like to give anyone else a chance. We shall see where Kempny signs very soon.